CUMBERLAND – Friday night, the Greely Rangers enjoyed the distinction of becoming the first opponent to score on Mountain Valley.

Well, they didn’t really enjoy it that much.

The unbeaten Falcons yielded their first points of the season early in the third quarter, then stifled the Greely offense the rest of the way to pick up a 35-7 Campbell Conference win.

Justin Staires tallied 287 yards, scored his three touchdowns running, receiving and on a punt return and contained Greely’s top receiver, Caleb Jordan, who had four catches for 51 yards.

“I don’t think we were really too worried about them scoring, because we expected it from the beginning,” Staires said. “We knew they were going to come out and play us hard, and they were going to score on us.”

Greely finally snapped Mountain Valley’s 18-quarter long shutout streak on their first possession of the second half. After holding the Falcons to three-and-out, the Rangers tackled Matt Laubauskas at his own 22 when he bobbled a punt attempt. An eight-yard Sean Vaughan pass to Jordan and an offsides penalty by the Falcons helped set up Vaughan’s five-yard scoring run on a quarterback draw that, with the extra point, made it 20-7.

“I told the kids after the touchdown, that’s going to happen,” Falcons coach Jim Aylward said. “Greely’s an excellent team and I thought we played an excellent first half of football, so I think that kind of set me up for a little disappointment in the second half. But the kids responded.”

The defense responded by holding the Rangers (3-2) to negative yardage and no first downs the rest of the way. The Falcons’ Thaddeus Bennett and Kyle Dow dropped Vaughan for sacks and forced an intentional grounding penalty on Greely’s next possession, which set up Staires’ 30-yard punt return for a touchdown that gave Mountain Valley a commanding 28-7 lead.

The Falcons (5-0) finished with six sacks, led by two apiece from Andy Shorey and Matt Glover. With the sacks, Greely totaled minus-27 yards on the ground.

“We really felt defensively, they hadn’t seen anything like our speed,” Aylward said. “I think that kind of proved out. There were times Vaughan had a chance to set his feet and throw, but a lot of times he was running for his life.”

“We had a spark in the third quarter. We thought we could move the ball if we got it back,” Greely coach Shawn Austin said. “But penalties killed us, and (the Falcons) just keep coming.”

The game was marred by 20 penalties. Flags and fumbles slowed the Falcons progress on their first drive, which stalled at the Greely 15. A 28-yard punt return by Staires started their next possession, which resulted in a Shorey QB sneak from just outside the goal line to make it 6-0.

The Falcons threatened again on their next series, but fumbled at the Greely 4-yard line. Fortunately for them, the Rangers gave the ball right back on the next play, and Staires went off left tackle for five yards to make it 12-0.

Staires and Shorey gave Mountain Valley a 20-0 advantage going into halftime with a perfectly-executed screen pass that resulted in a 43-yard touchdown.

“I try to hide behind the line and then pop out at the last second. I popped out, and I looked and I saw Thaddeus and all my linemen in front of me, and I just followed them,” Staires said.

That wasn’t Staires’ longest run of the night, though. Early in the fourth quarter, he broke off his a 44-yarder, but dove just short of the goal line. That allowed 288-pound senior tackle Kyle Dow to power it in on the next play for the game’s final score.


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